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ORAL EVIDENCE IN EARLIER TRIAL NOT RELEVANT IN A LATER TRIAL

Dictum

With due deference to the learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, it is settled law that evidence of a witness taken in an earlier proceedings is not relevant in a later trial or proceeding except for the purpose of discrediting such a witness in cross examination and for that purpose only. – Sanusi JCA. Enejo v. Nasir (2006)

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CLAIMANT CAN RELY ON EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENDANT

The position of the law is that the Claimant is entitled to rely on the evidence put forward by the Defendant. See ODUTOLA V. SANYA (2008) ALL FWLR (PT. 400) 780 AT 793, PARAS. F – G (CA) where it was held that “… if the Defendant’s evidence supports that (the case) of the Plaintiff, he is entitled to rely on same to fortify his case. See Kodilinye v. Odu (1935) 2 WACA 336; Akinola v. Oluwo (1962) 1 All NLR 224″.

— E.N. Agbakoba, J. Igenoza v Unknown Defendant (2019) – NICN/ABJ/294/2014

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WITNESS EVIDENCE IN PREVIOUS PROCEEDINGS

It is wrong and improper to treat the evidence given by a witness in a previous proceeding as one of truth in a subsequent or later proceeding, in which he has not given evidence. See Obawole & Anor. v. Coker (1994) 5 NWLR 416, Alade v. Aborishade (supra); Enang & Anor. V. Ukanem & Ors. (1962) 1 All.N.LR. 530, and Ariku v. Ajiwogbo (1962) 2 S.C.N.L.R 369.

— G.A. Oguntade, JSC. Tijani Dada v Jacob Bankole (2008) – S.C. 40/2003

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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE NOT TO CONTRADICT WRITTEN INSTRUMENT

Generally, where parties to an agreement have set out the terms thereof in a written document, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary from, or contradict the terms of the written instrument.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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UNCHALLENGED EVIDENCE IS GOOD EVIDENCE IN WHICH A COURT CAN ACT ON

I bear in mind in doing so that in law unchallenged evidence is good evidence on which a Court should act to make findings of facts. See Nwabuoku v. Ottih (1961) 1 All NLR 487 @ p. 490. See also Odulaja v. Haddad (1973) 11 SC 357; Isaac Omoregbe v Daniel Lawani (1980) 3 – 4 SC 108 @ p. 117; Oluhunde & Anor v. Prof. Adeyoju (2000) 14 WRN 160.

— B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Anyi & Ors. v. Akande & Ors. (2017) – CA/L/334/2014

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A PIECE OF EVIDENCE IS SAID TO BE CONTRADICTORY WHEN IT ASSERTS THE OPPOSITE OF ANOTHER PIECE

Now, a piece of evidence is said to be contradictory to another piece of evidence, when it asserts or affirms the opposite of what the other piece of evidence asserts. It is settled that if the contradiction in the evidence adduced by the Prosecution goes to the root of the case, as to raise doubt in the mind of a Court, the Court should not convict. In other words, if there is contradiction in evidence as to material fact, which raises doubt, the benefit of doubt must be given to the Accused. However, where the contradictions are not as to material facts, such contradictions should not disturb the finding of guilt, if sufficient evidence has been led on material facts to the Charge see Ochemaje V. State (2008)15 NWLR (Pt. 1109) 57SC, wherein Tobi, JSC, explained: Contradictions definitely arise in evidence of witnesses in Court. That explains the human nature and the humanity in witnesses. Although witnesses see and watch the same event, they may narrate it from different angles, in their individual peculiar focus, perspective or slant. This does not necessarily mean that the event that they are narrating did not take place. It only means most of the time that the event took place, but what led to the event was given different interpretations, arising from the senses of sight and mind dictated by their impressions and idiosyncrasies. That is why the law says that contradictions, which are not material or substantial will go to no issue.

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Usman v The State (2019) – SC.228/2016

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EVIDENCE BY WITNESS IN PREVIOUS PROCEEDINGS CANNOT BE USED IN LATER PROCEEDING

It is settled law that evidence given in a previous case cannot be accepted as evidence in a subsequent proceedings except in conditions where the provisions of section 34(1) of the Evidence Act applies. Even where a witness who testified in a previous proceeding testifies again in a subsequent proceeding, the previous evidence has no greater value than its use in cross-examination of the witness as to his credit. Romaine v. Romaine (1972) 4 NWLR (Part 238) 650 at 669; Ayinde v. Salawu (1989) 3 NWLR (Part 109) 297 at 315; Alade v. Aborishade (1960) 5 FSC 167; Irenye v. Opune (1985) 2 NWLR (Part 5) 1 at 6-8 Sanyaolu v. Coker (1983) 1 SCNLR 168.

— F.F. Tabai JSC. Tijani Dada v Jacob Bankole (2008) – S.C. 40/2003

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